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Is it better to be late than never? Ken Cuccinelli hopes so.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Attorney General and gubernatorial hopeful Ken Cuccinelli cut an $18,000 check to charity this week; his way of paying penance for dining and vacationing as a guest of a wealthy benefactor who has a tax lawsuit against Virginia. Once again, he showed up late to the contrition party.
“I made the decision to send the check because it is the right thing to do, plain and simple,” he said. The right thing would have been not to accept the gifts. It’s that plain and simple.
He claimed he would have given the money up sooner, but like most Virginians, it’s hard for his family to write such a big check. Sure, just like most Virginians don’t have a sugar daddy, as his clan did, to give them lake vacations and cater their $1,500 Thanksgiving dinner. Gifts that came from Star Scientific’s Jonnie Williams, the same generous benefactor who showered Gov. Bob McDonnell and his family with handsome gifts.
Even as McDonnell was paying back Williams, Cuccinelli balked. It wasn’t as though he had a Rolex to slip off his wrist and return. All his gifts were consumed, he said. Besides, they were legal. That justification hasn’t played well on the campaign trail.
And so, this week, the contrite candidate finally said, “For those who’ve been disappointed in this situation or how I’ve handled it, I apologize. It’s been a humbling set of lessons for me.”
It’s a set of lessons he should have learned after his first brush with a generous, disingenuous donor, the man known as Bobby Thompson. While other states’ attorneys general in 2010 were hunting Thompson for duping good people out of money for his fake U.S. Navy Vets charity, Cuccinelli refused to shed Thompson’s $55,000 donation to his campaign chest until it was embarrassingly late.
Cuccinelli apparently is a slow study when it comes to ethics lessons, continuing to say, even as he was writing the $18,000 check, that his acceptance of Williams’ gifts “certainly was not unethical.” Which makes it what? Ethical?
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